The XX Factor

It Always Comes Back to Abortion

Amanda, I don’t intentionally steer conversations toward abortion, but I couldn’t help but have a huge reaction to a passing comment you made in your post about cryonics believers , that they are similar to ” people who dwell on the possibility that they may never have been born: people whose egos have grown to a size that’s crippling them, making them unable to see that the rest of the world is less sure that we cannot survive without them.”

Yes, I have dwelled considerably on the possibility of not being born. (I was born to teenage parents in Ohio in 1972. Abortion was legal in New York but not Ohio. Had it been, we might not be having this chat.) Of course it has shaped my thoughts on abortion and life in general. But in quite the opposite way that you describe. Rather than being sure that the world cannot survive without me, I’ve been grateful for every day that I’ve been given in this world. As I go about my daily life, I try to contribute to society positively, to raise my kids to do the same, to be loving and helpful to people around me. I consider myself a somewhat driven person, but I’m not guided by religion or an overinflated sense of self-worth. I’m guided by gratitude.

And yes, I can’t help but think that others should be given the same chance at life. It’s why-while acknowledging that I got extremely lucky to be raised by young parents who worked their asses off to overcome the odds against them-that I don’t look at every unwanted pregnancy as a juvenile delinquent in waiting, why I don’t look at every woman who gets pregnant unexpectedly as a helpless creature who has just thrown her life away. The difficulties women and children face as a result of unintended pregnancy are well-documented by pro-choicers. But I do represent the other side of the coin, and pointing it out doesn’t make me selfish or egotistical.

Photograph by Mark Wilson/Getty Images News.